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By Citizen Reporter


Winde repeats call for urgent meeting with Ramaphosa to end state of disaster

The extension of the national State of Disaster expires on 15 March 2022.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has reiterated his call for an urgent meeting of the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) to end the national state of disaster.

Winde on Friday said despite President Cyril Ramaphosa’s commitment last month during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) to end the state of disaster and its regulations, there were still no clear timelines for exactly when this would happen.

The premier wants the meeting – which consists of Cabinet ministers, premiers, mayors of metros – to be held soon, as the expiry of the extension of the state of disaster approaches on 15 March.

“Given the impending deadline, I am requesting that the president urgently convene the recommended PCC to discuss the steps that need to be taken to end the national state of disaster and allow the regulations to expire in their entirety.

“This PCC must take place well before the regulations expire on 15 March 2022 to ensure that they are not simply renewed beforehand,” Winde said in a statement.

ALSO READ: Cabinet approves State of Disaster extension until 15 March

708 days of lockdown

South Africa has been in lockdown for at least 708 days as of Friday, following the declaration of the national state of disaster by Ramaphosa in March 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

During his Sona, Ramaphosa said the state of disaster would be concluded once new regulations outside of the Disaster Management Act are finalised.

“It is our intention to end the national state of disaster as soon as we have finalised other measures under the National Health Act and other legislation to contain the pandemic,” he said.

Public health measures

Winde said there were no compelling reasons for the extension of the state of disaster due in less than two weeks’ time.

He said South Africa needed to normalise its Covid-19 response through existing public health measures, and empower and enable provinces to respond in the future.

“Taking this important step should not take this long,” he said.

“I called for the end of the national state of disaster and for the publication of a roadmap to end the disaster in October last year already. The national government have had more than enough time to prepare.”

The premier said the Quarterly Labour Force Statistics showed that between 1 July 2020 and 30 September 2021, 183 000 people lost their jobs in the Western Cape.

He described the country’s unemployment crisis as the “second pandemic”, which he warned would also cost lives and required government’s full attention.

“That is why we must do the right thing and end the national state of disaster, and instead focus our energy on creating an enabling environment for the private sector to create jobs.”

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe

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